Paul Tash to leave the Tampa Bay Times

Paul Tash outside the Tampa Bay Times office. Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Times.
Paul Tash outside the Tampa Bay Times office. Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Times.

Paul Tash, the Tampa Bay Times' longest-serving CEO and chairman, is retiring.

What's happening: The paper's controversial leader is leaving after 47 years, it announced yesterday, but will continue to chair the board of trustees at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, the nonprofit owner of the newspaper.

  • Times Publishing Co. president Conan Gallaty will replace him as CEO and is expected to become chairman when Tash, 67, leaves its board of directors July 1.

Lifting up minority lawyers

Illustration of a hand cursor holding a gavel
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Abeer Abu Judeh so strongly believed she could make the world of legal tech better, she bet her house on it.

What's happening: Abu Judeh's platform, LexDock, is trying to reinvent the way legal services are rendered while empowering minority attorneys with a one-stop-shop legal management suite.

Minimum wage increases in record number of states

Data: NELP/Axios research; Map: Will Chase/Axios

Florida is among a record number of states and cities increasing their minimum wage in 2022, with many exceeding $15 an hour, according to a new report.

Scoop: LED screen startup raises $10M seed round

Founder Jonathan Davila stands in front of the Vū Studio production screen.
Founder Jonathan Davila stands in front of the Vū Studio production screen. Photo courtesy Allison Distasi/Omni Public

A year after Vū Studio took over former retail spaces at University Mall, its founders say they've raised the biggest seed round ever for a Tampa tech company.

What's happening: Tim Moore and Jonathan Davila tell Axios their production company has received a $10 million seed investment from Minnesota-based ADX Labs, at a $50 million valuation.

  • The funding will help advance the tech and open new studios in Nashville and Las Vegas next year.

What they do: Vū uses an LED Volume screen made up of 500 panels to create realistic backdrops that can move and change along with camera angles.

  • It's as close as you can possibly be to a location without actually being there and what Davilla calls "game engine technology combined with traditional production."
  • In the year since Vū opened, it's been used by brands like WWE, Mercedes, Apple, and Neiman Marcus along with artists like Bad Bunny and Twenty One Pilots.

What they're saying: "Green screen is going to go totally extinct and be replaced by this technology," Davilla said. "It's just so much more realistic looking."

  • "And you'll never miss a shot."

Why it matters: This is the kind of technology that got projects like "The Mandalorian" made when the pandemic stopped people from filming on location.

  • Vū is one of only a handful of similar studios in the country and claims to be the nation's first LED Volume virtual production company specializing in commercials.
  • Virtual production is set to expand into a multi-billion dollar industry, Davilla said, and Tampa is at the forefront of that.
  • "This is a real blue ocean opportunity."

Background: The studio is part of Rithm at Uptown, the tech campus taking over the mall along with other innovators like the USF program designing the future of casualty-free warfare.

💭 Selene's thought bubble: This place is beyond cool. My jaw was dragging on the floor the whole time. I can't wait to see where this goes and who it brings to Tampa.

Tampa Bay's top delivered groceries

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Honey, I'm going to the store. Do we need anything besides thousands and thousands of bananas?

Inside Slide's $100M Series A raise

A portrait of Bruce Lucas sitting in a leather chair
Bruce Lucas. Photo courtesy of Omni Public

Bruce Lucas sees insurance as a fine wine.

  • Both are age-old industries that can be vastly improved with modern technology.

Making the Deal with Michelle Yepez

Photo illustration of a briefcase with a photo of Michelle Yepez inside.
Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photo: Paradise Advertising and Marketing

Michelle Yepez is all about putting people before dollar signs.

State of play: Yepez was named director of development last month for Tampa Bay Watch, a nonprofit focused on fostering a healthy Tampa Bay watershed.

  • She oversees the organization's corporate and community philanthropy initiatives through growth in fundraising, donor relations and collaborations.

December brew news in Tampa Bay

A round of Big Storm Beer sits on a wooden table.
Big Storm beer. Photo courtesy of Catalyst Communications

The overflowing craft beer scene in Tampa Bay is hopping up even more business.

State of play: Clearwater-based Big Storm Brewing Co. announced its purchase of Bradenton-based Darwin Brewing Co. yesterday, which has been making culinary-inspired beer for about 10 years.

  • "It is our plan to take the next year to methodically find a new home for Darwin that will allow the brand to find some of its original roots regarding a culinary experience," Big Storm co-owner L.J. Govoni said in the announcement.
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